Monday, January 8, 2007


Last week I was having trouble focusing on what would be an appropriate topic to post.  I had other issues going on that were making it difficult for me to maintain my concentration and stay focused on my task.  When life throws you a curve ball and you become focused on that issue and the surrounding implications, it can be very difficult to focus on other aspects of your life; of your every day activities.  This is true for people who may be experiencing grief. 

People in grief are so focused on their loss and the surrounding implications that it becomes very difficult to focus on the other every day activities, such as work, home and family.  The surrounding implications are called "secondary losses" which mean how does this loss affect the other areas of your life.  Did your protector die?  Did your provider die?  Did your companion die?  Did your best friend die?  Did the person who handled all the household finances die?  Did the person who knew how to fix the car or fix anything that went wrong in the house die?  This list could go on and on, but you get the point. 

Take for example a widow just had her heat go out in the middle of winter.  She is already grieving and consumed with the sadness of the loss of her spouse.  Throw on top of that, she might not know who to call to come fix the furnace.  Where does she look for information?  How will she know that she is contacting a reputable company?  Can she trust being in the house with the repairman alone?  Does she pretend that she is not alone?  How much will it cost?  Does she have enough to fix it?  The estate hasn't come out of probate yet, if she pays for the repairs now, will she have enough money for food, bills, medical, etc.?  And this list goes on.  If you asked this widow to think about solving another problem or taking on another task, you can well imagine that she wouldn't have the energy or motivation to fulfill that request, let alone stay focused on that new task as well.

That is why I say, "Please be gentle with yourself."  I also like to say, "Don't have such high expectations of yourself during grief."  People have a tendency to be their own worst enemies.  During grief, you don't need YOU criticizing yourself, or berating yourself, because you didn't do something you thought you should do, or didn't act fast enough, or didn't think something through more thoroughly, or whatever it is that we like to beat ourselves up over.  As time goes on, you will be able to regain more and more of your focus and you will find that you will start to become more motivated, more energized.  You just need some patience, time and some kindness - to yourself.

Until next week, please be gentle with yourself - AND don't have such high expectations.


P.S.  If you have found this posting or previous postings helpful, please consider making a donation to The Bereavement Center.  We are a non-profit organization that serves the community, and we operate solely on donations from families, clients and the community.  As always, your donation will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.

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